After winning a Flair Distinguished Award, many of our fabulous awardees continue to do amazing things. We decided to check in with some of our Distinguished ladies to find out what they have been up to and see who continued to blaze a trail after receiving their awards.
Gail Abrahams – Communications 2020
It was such an honour to receive the Flair Distinguished Award for Communications two years ago. Since then, I have changed jobs, and today, I am the chief marketing officer for Hardware & Lumber Limited, one of Jamaica’s most admired companies, where I get to do what I love while working with a diverse and committed team. The impact of these awards goes beyond the women who are recognised as young girls are also inspired to set their sights on even greater futures.
Yhordanka Akwanza – Business 2018
I had a brand-new human named Tao since winning the award in 2018. His birth in 2019 propelled me to step away from the day-to-day micro-management side of the Eyeland Eyewear business and invest more in our team training so that they can function more without having me there and ensuring that the company is functioning as it should. As of today, we have 13 locations islandwide. My husband and I continue to focus on making the world a better place and have started a company called Essential Solar, where we install solar panels and systems islandwide because we want Jamaicans to be power independent and create a better environment for future generations. We have also started an Airbnb called Our Escape in Portland, and I have started a side hustle of being an influencer where companies reach out to me to help them promote their environmentally friendly products and fashion.
Lesli-Ann Belnavis – Arts 2018
I was shocked and excited to know that I was one of the first set of women to be acknowledged by the Flair for International Women’s Day in 2018. Since then, I have got married and started a photography and creative solutions agency with my husband titled LMent Creative. I have started to embrace my talents as an artist and photographer more. I am now the director of Art Therapy Jamaica, which offers art therapy services to children, adults, groups, couples, and families, both in-person and online, both on a local and international level. The pandemic brought many tests as well as blessings. Despite the uncertainty, devastation, and challenges it brought, I was able to [secure] an official office location for Art Therapy Jamaica. I am excited to see the growth and how my passion and talents as both a photographer and art therapist continue to impact the nation.
Fiona Burke – Volunteerism 2018
In 2018, when I was given The Distinguished Award for Volunteerism, I was seven months pregnant with my second child. She is now almost four years old. Time flies. It seems I still wear the same superwoman cape referred to in the 2018 feature article. In addition to juggling family life and all that I do with Flourish, I teach what is called Confidence Class, which is a public-speaking course, and I partner with my husband in a business we recently started called Wood Artistry Jamaica, where he uses wood to create masterpieces. What’s next for me and for Flourish? A free virtual concert on Easter Monday called Hi Skoolaz, for teens across Jamaica, which will feature a slew of local entertainers, celebrities, and influences and Confidence Camp for Kids and Teens in the summer. I’m sure it’s evident I have no plans to relinquish my superwoman title any time soon.
Lisandra Rickards – Business 2018
When I stepped down from my previous role as CEO of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship at the start of 2020, my plan at the time was to go on an adventure and relocate to Europe for a year or two, building my own business from there. The pandemic changed those plans, and I remained in Jamaica, launching and growing my company, Soul Career, a talent -development company that helps attract, develop, motivate, and retain high-performing talent – which has turned out to be the greatest adventure. My vision was to create a fully remote, location-independent company that would allow me and my team to live and work from anywhere while we pursued our mission of redefining the relationship between work and life and changing work culture. I’m really proud to say that since 2020, and in the middle of a global pandemic, we’ve quintupled our growth, serving clients from all over the world with a team of five that’s based in the Caribbean, Europe, and Southeast Asia. This has been the most challenging and most rewarding journey of my life, and I’m excited about accelerating our growth now that the pandemic is receding.
Chris-Ann Simpson Harley – Science and Technology 2019
There have been a lot of changes since I won The Distinguished Award in 2019. Good changes. I have grown the Woman’s Touch brand. It is now in most major retailers islandwide and has got more engagement with our customer base with the help of our distributor Derrimon. We have expanded the Woman’s Touch line from only pads into other healthy options for women that include wipes and a feminine wash. We have major plans for the upcoming years as we grow. God has been really good.